Getting around in Lebanon
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Nov 2, 2013 8:24 AM Last Post By: zellturtle
Oct 14, 2013 10:47 AM
Getting around in LebanonHello
My friend and I are going to be in Lebanon in the last week of October. We will be staying in Beirut and plan to do day trips to other parts. We were hoping to get to Baalbek and Tripoli and stay the night but have seen the FCO advice saying not to go, Can anyone advise? Also how easy is to get a car for the day at a reasonable rate or are we better trying to get public transport...(wanting to go to Sidon, Tyre, Byblos, Beittidine) Can't seem to get much info from the hotel we are staying at about sharing cars with other travellers. And what is the taxi situation from Beirut airport , I keep reading it's better to get hotel to organise one.
Thanks for any help.
Oct 15, 2013 11:24 AM
1Taxis from the airport into Beirut should theoretically operate at a fixed rate. Can't remember how much it is these days, was about 20$ a few years ago. Renting a car at the airport will cost about 35$ per day during the specified period. If you rent it at a city location - such as Phoenicia Hotel, through one of these international car rental brokers - you can get away with less than 20$ a day. I just checked that 5 minutes ago. Pre-booking is essential for such rates.
Oct 16, 2013 7:12 AM
2Airport taxi should be 20,000 (13 dollars) at the most. Nothing operates at a fixed rate in Beirut ;-) They'll start with 30 dollars when they see you, just keep insisting on 20,000 or 15 dollars and somebody will pick you up. Or go upstairs to the departures and get one from there.
Cars for one day are tricky, mostly 2 day minimum. You could try one of the bigger agencies. But really, you can get a small car for 30 bucks, so why not take two days. Public transport to Sidon, Tyre, Byblos is possible. Beit ed-Din also, but a little more difficult. I'd highly recommend you hire a car, depending on your budget. Much more fun and comfortable.
Both Baalbek and Tripoli have recently been the scene of clashes. In Baalbek it's very sporadic, last one was small and a month ago. Security has established several checkpoints, and you should be able to get to the historic sites no problem. And in the very unlikely event something does happen while you're there, you just do a U-turn and leave.
Tripoli is more unstable. If you go, stay out of Bab el-Tebbaneh and Jebel Mohsen, the two neighbourhoods that regularly shoot at each other. The rest is fine, but you never kow when something flares up again. I'd avoid it, if it's just tourism you're looking for.
I'm a longtime Beirut resident.
Edited by: Remcoa
Oct 20, 2013 11:07 AM
Oct 20, 2013 11:09 AM
Oct 21, 2013 4:34 PM
Nov 2, 2013 8:24 AM
6I would recommend relying on public transport to Sidon and then to continue down to Tyre. That is very easy to arrange and if you spend a night in Tyre it will give you plently of time. Public transport is cheap and also that way you do not have to worry about parking. Then I would recommend coming back to Beirut and renting a car from there to go into the Chouf for 2 days. There are many beautiful villages plus Beit al-Diin. I also highly recommend the Chouf Cedar Reserve
Byblos is in the other direction, north of Beirut. It is probably cheaper to return the car to Beirut and go up to Byblos the next day on a day trip by bus, especially if you do not have parking at your hotel. Honestly driving in Beirut traffic and finding parking in the city will be more stressful than driving anywhere around Lebanon.
If you can find 2 more people to split a car with then it will become more cost effective, and you can think about renting a car for the whole way Sidon-Trye-Chouf area (the mountain road to the Chouf is near Sidon, but that doesn't mean coming back to Beirut is a huge waste of time because everything is close in Lebanon.) Post on the travel companion forum or try to find someone in your hotel/hostel once you arrive.
I would not recommend visiting Tripoli at this time. Clashes happen pretty often, and it was far from my favorite place in Lebanon to begin with.
Baalbek is worth seeing as long as it is safe. That is the kind of thing you will have to play by ear. People in Beirut keep on top of the security situation throughout the country so just ask around, starting with employees at your hotel but not limited to them. Arranging a day trip to Baalbek through your hotel or a tourist office should not be hard.
(5 star Hotel)
From US$323.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$95.51 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$70.00 per night